Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Forest Hill Cemetery Crossbills!



I had a couple of errands to run in Madison on my day off today, so I thought I would stop by Forest Hill Cemetery to see if I could locate the White-winged Crossbills other birders have been recently reporting. Until today, I hadn't seen these neat birds since 2009 at Pheasant Branch Conservancy. Despite the dreary wet weather and poor lighting conditions, I found them without too much difficulty by listening for their calls.



With hemlock, spruce, and lots of other conifers, plus a lack of snow cover, there were plenty of areas where the crossbills could easily forage on the ground for cones. Once I found them, the birds were super focused on eating and paid no attention to me as I snapped away. It was amusing watching them systematically work the cones with their feet and bills.









A cemetery might seem like an odd or eerie place to look at birds, but Forest Hill is more of a tree-filled historical park. It was created around the time of the Civil War and has a couple of military burial plots with both Union and Confederate soldiers. It's actually a very beautiful place for a walk. Some of the older headstones and markers were covered with so much moss it was almost impossible to read their engravings.







All images © 2013 Mike McDowell

5 comments:

  1. I especially like that last shot of the cemetary

    ReplyDelete
  2. Do Crossbills eat sunflowers..saw a video of them cracking them, seemed they didn't get much food out of the process though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yup. They can and do eat them.

    Mike M.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Pete,

    Yes. They can eat sunflower seeds.

    Mike M.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Have Red Crossbills at my feeders today Feb, 12 in Green Bay...first time ever!!!

    ReplyDelete